Furniture Consignment Gallery Blog

A New, Isolated Tribe? Yes, Shoppers Who’ve Never Tried Consignment

Posted by Jay Frucci on Sat, March 02, 2019 @ 11: 37 AM

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Attention, anthropologists. Cancel that trip to Papua New Guinea. You don’t need to go to strange and uncharted lands to find an undiscovered tribe. I’ve just identified one here in our showroom in Natick, MA. 

Homo consignment newbie-us. 

Earlier this week, I was in our dining section when I spotted the species. However, they are quite shy, typically avoiding notice by moving stealthily and avoiding our sales staff. 

In any case, I could see the pair had discovered an attractive dining set. Like a dog sniffing a bee, they were in turn curious, confused and cautious. Together, they would approach the set. The male would tilt his head and squint at the wide cherry wood grain approvingly, then leap backwards as if the table was on fire. 

Then, the female would gingerly touch the gleaming finish, nod at her mate, and step away. After a while, the two found the price tag, which they studied intensely, whispering to each other. 

I watched their scouting expedition for a few minutes, then I felt compelled to interact with them. “That set is a terrific deal,” I called out from a safe distance. They were startled at first. But after a few minutes, and more whispering, they apparently decided there was nothing to fear. 

“It’s our first time in your store,” the woman confided. “Honestly,” she added, “I never expected to see such beautiful furniture.” Her hand grazed the back of a chair softly. “This set would be perfect in our home,” she added, glancing shyly at her husband. 

FCG has been in business for almost three decades and yet there are still lots of shoppers who are unfamiliar with the concept of consignment. We can spot them instantly. First, there’s curiosity, then fascination, then addiction. 

There’s also heartbreak. I explained consignment to the newbies, gently underscoring an important idea: FCG is a treasure hunt. Walk away from a delightful find and there’s a possibility another buyer will scoop it up quickly. 

“We need some time to think about this,” the husband blustered, as he nudged his wife out of the store. Within an hour, the set had sold. 

I thought of the newbies as I rang up the sale. They’ll be back this weekend, and they’ll be crushed to find the set gone. But I’m quite confident they’ll have learned their lesson. They won’t hesitate to buy the next dining set with which they fall in love. Welcome, newbies, to FCG.

First, the Ecstasy, Then the Agony: A Red Wine Story

Posted by Jay Frucci on Sat, February 23, 2019 @ 10: 39 AM

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Our delivery men tenderly carried it into the showroom. It was a gem of a sofa, A.Rudin, custom ordered from the Boston Design Center at a cost of more than $7,000. And it was worth every penny. The sofa was a soft buttery color. Everything about it – the solid wood ebonized frame, the thick cushions – whispered luxury and comfort.

“There’s got to be some sort of flaw,” I murmured to myself. “No one could possibly want to consign such a perfect piece of furniture.”

I couldn’t detect even the slightest sign of wear on that A.Rudin. No derriere had ever wiggled into any of the seat cushions, no shoulder had ever rested against the back. No one had ever, it seemed, sprawled the length of the sofa reading a book or chatting on the phone. 

I pulled the cushions off and flipped them over to examine the sofa in closer detail, and that’s when I found the evidence: a pale pink stain, the telltale sign of a red-wine spill. 

I couldn’t help but envision the scene: a young professional couple, newly flush with cash after a big promotion. They’d hired an interior designer, then waited months for their urban loft to be completely furnished. After six months of anticipation, the last piece to arrive was the A.Rudin. 

They rushed home from work the day it was delivered. “Let’s celebrate!” they cried, uncorking a cabernet sauvignon they’d brought home from that honeymoon tour of Napa Valley. They cuddled on the couch, clinking glasses and giggling over their good fortune. Then, a little tipsy, one of them tipped a glass slightly, just enough to soak a cushion with a splash of cab. 

Red wine is a homemaker’s most dreaded stain, almost impossible to remove completely. The young couple dashed for towels to mop up the excess, then blotted and fretted for an hour. She went to bed with a headache. He urgently texted the interior designer. 

From her, he would learn the new homeowner’s hardest lesson. All new things – so perfect when they first arrive – will eventually be stained, chipped, dented and worn. 

“Patina is more valuable than perfection,” the wise designer said. “All those spots and dents on your furniture will remind you of special moments in your life. My best advice is to flip the cushion over and forget about the stain. The sofa is even more beautiful than it was three hours ago.” 

Visit our Natick showroom this weekend and take a look at the A.Rudin. It is gorgeous, and you’ll barely notice the tiniest pink stain on the underside of the cushion. Every item in our showroom has a story. After all, they are consigned from homes all over New England. In the case of the A.Rudin, you can enjoy my story – or make up one of your own.

White Tag 15% Off President's Day Sale

Posted by Jay Frucci on Sat, February 16, 2019 @ 12: 17 PM

 

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PRESIDENTS DAY SALE
 
Save 15% on all white tag items now through Monday! All of our non-consigned new items, including mattresses and custom orders are now 15% off in-store or over the phone. MANY white tagged items can be found in our Lighting and Accessories collections. It's a great time to get deals on regularly full-priced inventory!
  
HIDDEN TREASURES: RED-PEN FINAL MARKDOWNS
 
The Spring real estate market is flooding our stores with incoming inventory and our showrooms need some space! To make way for the incoming, we've parsed through every item in our stores and the result is store wide markdowns on over 400 incredible items. These items can be found in our Final Markdowns section!  How do you know which items have been marked down? Tags that have a final price are highlighted with a red pen. Our Red-Pen markdowns are significant price drops from the original purchase price. You'll find high end name brands, current styles and and incredible quality. Shop online or visit our showrooms for values not found anywhere else. How about a Baker console table or a  Pottery Barn Loft bed? Even a stunning Restoration Hardware hutch has been marked down. Our store managers have been marking down items all week! Check out our final markdowns section or come see the blue tags with red-pen price slashes in our stores. Out of all the President's Day sales events in furniture stores this weekend, you'll find none better than our 15% off white tag sale and our store wide Red-Pen markdowns.  

Resist the Urge to Shop Online at Midnight. For Quality Furniture, Visit FCG First

Posted by Jay Frucci on Sat, February 09, 2019 @ 01: 13 PM

 

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Some thirty or so years ago, in the mid-1980s, the New York Times published a solemn little piece advising its millions of readers on the art of choosing furniture. Buyers, the newspaper huffed, are falling for style without due consideration of quality. Danger, the Times warned, was everywhere: visible glue drippings, uneven seams, broken stitching, creaks, cracks, and dozens of other sins.

“Ask questions!” the Times scolded its readers like a strict nanny. “Read tags! Look underneath! Poke about!” The Times even went so far as to suggest that a buyer hoist a sofa up into the air to see if it would wobble or sag in the middle.

Turns out, the Gray Lady – as the Times is affectionately known – was quite prescient. Furniture-makers were beginning to trim costs and boost profits by manufacturing in Asia in the early 1980s. As a result, the quality of the product was suffering.

The Times’ sober little story was an early, and necessary, warning of things to come. And, as quaint as it might have seemed at the time, the Times’ advice is all the more vital today as more and more consumers buy their furniture online.

Nowadays, the risk of buying poor quality furniture are even higher, thanks to the internet. Online furniture retailers offer stunning photos furniture that entice buyers by the millions. And point-and-click shopping make it so easy! You no longer need to spend your weekends bouncing on chairs and mattresses in furniture showrooms.

But, in real life, that furniture you see online may be uncomfortable and completely unsuitable to the daily wear-and-tear of family life. Yes, you may fall in love with a stylish sofa online. But once you’ve installed it in your living room that material may be as scratchy as Brillo. Yes, that dining table looks gorgeous in the photos. But in real life the legs are too wobbly for a holiday dinner party.

At FCG, we’re big believers in shopping the old-fashioned way. So stop by one of our three showrooms and sprawl out on the sofa you are thinking of buying. The New York Times had it right. When it comes to furniture, quality is something you need to feel, to touch, to hoist, and to hold against your cheek. At FCG, we promise you can do all these things – and still be happy with what you are bringing into your home.

Got Work? We Have Desks Galore at FCG

Posted by Jay Frucci on Sat, February 02, 2019 @ 03: 01 PM

 

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With obvious pride, she swiped through a series of photos on her cell phone to show me the computer armoire she wanted to consign. Eight feet tall and gorgeously crafted in cherry, it was massive. If someone had ordered up a sarcophagus for Godzilla, this would have fit the bill. 

Twenty years ago, her armoire was an elegant solution. Like a Swiss Army knife, it ingeniously unfolded into a work station with a hinged drop-down table and shelving for the printer. It was designed for an era in which computers were bulky things with large monitors and big blinking towers.

Today, thanks to wifi and portable devices, the armoire is as unnecessary as Grandma’s hi-fi console from the 1960s. I hated to break the news to her, but I suspected she already knew. 

“I can’t sell your armoire,” I said. “It’s obsolete.” 

She took a moment to digest this nugget of info, then recovered quickly. “Can I just give it to you?” she asked. “I’ve got to get it out of the house. We’re selling – and the buyers don’t want it!”

She left disappointed that she couldn’t unload the armoire on FCG, but the incident got me thinking. Technology has changed dramatically in the last decade or so. So have our work habits. But most of us still need a dedicated place to tackle tasks like paying the bills or homework.

Here are some things to consider when you’re designing your workspace: 

Location: Technology allows us to work from almost anywhere. A kitchen island or a dining table can quickly morph into a workspace. It’s central and social. The downside: spaghetti sauce on the math worksheet or the bills. Maybe you do need a desk. 

Surface space: How much space do you need to get work done? Do you prefer to spread out your paperwork, laptop, calculator and phone? Or do you prefer a tidy little spot tucked in a corner? Do you need a large desk for multiple computer screens? Would you prefer a warm and rustic wood surface or a sleek glass surface? 
Storage: Do you need storage? Drawers are handy for the office supplies. What about files? If you do maintain files, you’ll likely want executive-style desk with file drawers or a credenza.

Style: Antique desks tug on some buyers’ hearts. They hint at stories of long-ago endeavors such as novels written or music composed. But contemporary desks with wood tops and chrome legs are also popular now. Their clean and simple lines seem to suggest clear thinking.

You can find most any type of desk to meet your needs at FCG. Well, that is you’ll find almost anything, with one exception: a giant computer armoire.

A Bonanza of Nearly New Cottage-style Furniture in Plymouth

Posted by Jay Frucci on Sat, January 26, 2019 @ 07: 24 PM

 

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Here in New England, we have a proud tradition of furniture craftsmanship that dates back to our colonial days. The roster of manufacturers has thinned out, due to recession and a flood of cheap stuff from Asia. Still, there are quality furniture-makers quietly thriving from Maine to Connecticut.

We got a call from one of them a couple of weeks ago with an intriguing question: Would FCG be interested in selling some of its samples and returns? 

Our answer was a resounding yes!

While we agreed not to disclose the name of our new partner, we’ve been an admirer of this family-owned business and its cottage-style furniture for years. Some 95% of the furniture it offers is made in America, mostly in small workshops by skilled craftsmen. Customers order their custom-made pieces online, choosing style, wood, finish, color and size. The quality is superb. 

Our new partner is renowned for its custom-made farmhouse tables from pedestals to trestles to turned-leg rectangular tables and more. This week, we got a truckload of more than 30 in different sizes, styles and colors. They are all awesome. We also got some bedroom pieces, bookcases and desks. 

We’re proud to offer this furniture at our store in Plymouth. There’s no damage to or defect in any of these pieces. All are handmade of solid wood. Some are painted and the colors are stylish and vibrant. 

So if you are looking for a new cottage-style dining table for your home, look no further than FCG in Plymouth. You won’t regret the trip!

An Early Sign of Spring? A Warming Trend With an Icy Husband

Posted by Jay Frucci on Sat, January 19, 2019 @ 02: 36 PM

 

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The front door of the showroom swung open wide, letting in a blast of cold air and a man whose expression was just as icy. He stomped across the floor until he came to the front counter where he stopped and glared at me. Then, he reached into his pocket and yanked out a crumpled receipt.

Frowning, he made a half-hearted attempt to straighten it out then heaved a sigh of irritation and shoved it towards me. “I’m here to pick this up,” he said sourly. “My wife bought it.” 

Now, I’m no Pollyanna, but sometimes I have to admit I enjoy the challenge of winning over the occasional grinch. That’s part of the fun of a retail business. Glancing down at the receipt, I looked up and grinned at the guy. “Oh man,” I said cheerfully, “you’re going to like this.”

He snorted. “I doubt it.”

Outside, his car was parked, with its engine running. I noticed he’d blocked the entrance, but I decided to let it go. After all, we were bonding here. I didn’t want to interrupt our special moment. 

As he followed me through the showroom, I could see his eyes wandering from one piece to another. He was starting to get curious. “What is this stuff?” he demanded gruffly. “Consignment? What the heck does that mean?”

A dialogue! This relationship was blossoming before my eyes! I explained told him all about FCG, and how we provide quality gently used furniture at amazing bargains. “Your wife, by the way,” I confided in a low voice, “got a real steal.” 

He raised his eyebrows a bit skeptically and glanced over at me. “You think so?” 

“I do!” I said enthusiastically. By then, we were standing in front of a pair of upholstered swivel rocking chairs. They were a red barrel style and they were in great condition. Our consignor had paid about $1,000 – for each chair. His wife bought both for $799. I was really grinning now and he was nodding his head in approval.

So much progress! I’m so encouraged. We might have a future together! 

Like two bros, we cemented our friendship by lifting heavy stuff and grunting. I helped him load the chairs in his truck and he set to work to buckling them down for the ride home. It was hard to say goodbye. “Thanks, man,” he said, roaring out of the parking lot.

I watched him disappear into traffic. He’d be back, I was sure of it. We’d have long walks through the showroom and long talks about the best way to hoist stuff into the back of his pickup. We’d move more furniture together. After all, his wife knows a great bargain when she sees it.

Creature Comforts at FCG? Yes, but Not These Creatures

Posted by Jay Frucci on Sat, January 12, 2019 @ 11: 34 AM

 

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After the last customer of the day meandered out the door, it was time for the familiar ritual of closing up the store. Ron, our senior sales manager, was making the rounds that night, turning off the lights, fluffing the occasional pillow and straightening a picture that was askew on the wall.

In the gentle silence of the top floor, he took one last look around before going down the stairs when suddenly he caught a glimpse of two beady eyes glaring at him in the dark. “Oh, no!” Ron whispered to himself. “We’ve got a squirrel.”

Cute as they are burrowing for acorns in the backyard, a squirrel in the showroom is downright annoying. They’re happy enough outdoors during the spring and summer, but once the temperature drops they’re ingenious at finding a way to wriggle inside for warmth. This one apparently found a tiny porthole somewhere to gain entry to FCG.

Still, Ron is fearless when it comes to rustling wild creatures. He should have been born with chaps, a lasso and a ten-gallon hat. He grabbed a broom. Yee-haw, the rodeo was on.

This squirrel wasn’t going to be cast out without a fight, though. Ron chased that critter around the fifth floor for fifteen minutes, darting around the furniture while blocking off escape routes with the broom. Finally, he managed to herd the squirrel into the stairwell, down five flights and out the side door. Both of them were gasping for breath after that chase.

Ron dropped the broom and collapsed into a leather recliner, sweat running in rivulets down his face but triumphant at his victory. After an 11-year career at FCG, he still reigns supreme as our top salesman. Who would have thought he’d have major skills as a critter rustler?

Our showrooms are warm and inviting all winter long, and we do our best to try to make everyone who comes through our doors feel welcome. Our hospitality doesn’t extend to members of the wild kingdom, though. Good thing we’ve got a cowboy on staff.

Away Goes the Manger! Christmas Clean-up is in Full Gear

Posted by Jay Frucci on Sat, January 05, 2019 @ 10: 33 AM

 

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We landed at midnight, trading the warmth of Savannah for the bone-chilling cold of Boston. Diana and I had enjoyed a brief vacation – sans kids – to attend a wedding on Hilton Head Island with a few bonus days in Savannah. The bride was stunning, the groom was dashing, the shrimp gumbo was amazing. On the home front, grandparents were able to keep our boys alive while we partied like we were 22.

Tired as we were after our trip that night, I could see the determination in Diana’s eyes as we pulled into the driveway at 2 a.m. Come sunrise, she would be a woman on a mission. She was ready to round up the reindeer and all the other flotsam and jetsam of Christmas. 

After a too-brief sleep, I awoke to the roar of the vacuum cleaner. Diana was already in a whirlwind of tree hauling and ornament packing. I desperately needed coffee to process the abrupt shift from soft sea breezes to the unrelenting hustle of the home front.

By the time the caffeine hit my system, Diana was outside, energetically tackling the holiday display. She looked like a bandolero with loops of extension cords wrapped around her. Under each arm was a plastic reindeer, their wide eyes frozen in an expression of alarm. 

Honestly, I was overwhelmed just watching her. Christmas, 2018 was being carted off to storage. But part of me was relieved, too. Other than a few extra pounds around the waist and a beefy credit card balance, we were on the path to normalcy.

I left Diana to her mission and headed out the door to work. Welcome, 2019! We’re back and FCG is ready to rock.

An Historic Heirloom Chest is Beautifully Broken and Perfectly Imperfect

Posted by Jay Frucci on Sat, December 29, 2018 @ 11: 58 AM

 

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Just after Christmas, Diana and I decided to slip away for a warm-weather escape to Savannah, Georgia. There, we decided to take a tour of the Owens-Thomas House, a beautifully restored Regency style mansion built in 1819. 

Our tour meandered through the main house and the carriage house which had been used as slave quarters. Built by Richard Richardson, a wealthy merchant and bank president, the house had amenities extraordinary for that time. Among them was a primitive but ingenious system of drains. “The Owens-Thomas House had indoor plumbing before the White House,” our guide announced with pride.

Not surprisingly, Diana and I were fascinated by the home’s period furniture. In every room, there were beautiful examples of design and craftsmanship: solid wood chairs, game tables, writing desks, secretaries, magnificent mirrors and portraits. 

As we rounded a corner, we noticed a stunning mahogany chest-on-chest with a missing piece of corner molding. Our eyes met knowingly. We were both thinking the exact same thing. The piece was even more beautiful because of its imperfection. 

Its patina was strong and vibrant. Its carvings were elegant. This piece would be a treasure in any home. But we knew that most people would be distressed by the missing corner piece. Were this chest to land in one of our stores, it would sit for months waiting for a buyer. 

These days, consumers unwittingly purchase new furniture that has fatal flaws beneath a seemingly perfect exterior. The market is flooded with pieces with flimsy joints, fake wood and plastic parts that will not stand the test of time. Meanwhile, well-crafted older furniture is being cast off because of a few dents or scratches. 

At FCG, we have pieces similar to those in the Owens-Thomas House. We believe that period furniture has an warmth and strength that can be found only in things crafted with care and preserved with love. Sometimes, old drawers and creaky doors are worth treasuring. 

In our fragile world, we need these heirlooms. They anchor us. What if those who inherited the Owens-Thomas house had decided they were tired of the old mahogany furniture? Imagine the tragedy of filling the house with IKEA. 

Absurd? Yes, but our society is doing this every day. We’re shedding family history in favor of assembly-line imports. Very few people are taking the time to think this through. What are we losing when we shed these old treasures? 

The next time you visit FCG, walk a little slower through our showroom. Ponder the history of the period furniture. Don’t overlook a piece because of a scuffed corner, a faded finish or a surface scratch. Instead, embrace the flaws. Smell the aged wood. Imagine its history. Like our competitors, our showrooms offer lots of shiny and new pieces. But the old gems are worth preserving, too.